Friday 22 September 2017

Our early school leavers hit hardest by rising job losses

Ailish O'Hora Public Affairs Correspondent

EARLY school leavers face the most difficulty in holding on to a job, while the number of people in long-term unemployment is continuing to spiral upwards.

And young males are twice as likely as females to be unemployed, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

A breakdown of the statistics in the latest household survey shows that 24pc of men with a primary school education or lower are out of work while this figure drops to 18.2pc for those with a higher secondary qualification.

The figure is lowest, at 7.6pc, for men with a third level honours degree.

But a staggering 21.5pc of men with post-Leaving Certificate courses are also unemployed.

There were 200,100 males and 93,600 females out of work in the second quarter of this year, bringing the total to 293,600 -- an 11pc increase compared with last year.

The figures differ from the live register, which includes those with part-time jobs, which now stands at 455,000 people.

However, a much higher number-- 344,000-- consider themselves to be out of work.

While the statistics also show a gradual decline in the pace of employment decline, at 4.1pc, in the second quarter of 2010, the number of those in long-term unemployment has increased.

There are now 127,000 Irish people out of work for a year or more, a 5.9pc hike on last year.

Males also make up the majority of this figure at 48.3pc compared with 32.5pc of women.

And there are also fewer non-Irish people in the labour force -- down 15pc to 276,500.

The labour force stood at 2,152,700 at work, an annual decrease of 2.3pc.

Sectors like construction are worst hit by unemployment, representing our high dependence on the sector over the past 10 years.

Contracting

More resilient sectors include those requiring professional and technical qualifications where the unemployment rate was 13.2pc in the second quarter, in line with expectations.

Economists said yesterday that while job losses are easing, the progress is slow and there could be worse to come.

"The latest estimate for the August unemployment rate is 13.8pc, indicating that conditions may have deteriorated further over the summer months," said Dermot O'Leary, economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers.

"The labour force continues to contract due to a combination of falling participation, which makes up the majority of the fall, and falling numbers of people of working age in the country."

Alan McQuaid, an economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers, said while the survey showed a further easing off in the year-on-year fall in employment, the data showed the very weak state of the labour market.

"All in all, it now looks like the jobless rate will hit 14pc before the year is out, and will, in our view, peak somewhere between 14pc and 14.5pc next year."

Opposition parties used the new figures to highlight the lack of an employment/stimulus strategy from the Government.

"Growing long-term unemployment is a major concern," said Richard Bruton, Fine Gael spokesman on enterprise, jobs and economic planning.

"Even among under-25s, more than one third have been out of work for over a year."

He claimed that Fine Gael's stimulus plan would create 105,000 jobs through an €18bn upgrade of the country's infrastructure and the sell-off of some semi-states.

Irish Independent

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